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History, Language & Culture


Mumbai with its seven islands was dwelled by small fishing community called Koli. It was surrendered to the Portuguese in 1534 by Sultan Bahadur of Ahmedabad. It was then handed over to the English on Dowry of the Portuguese Infanta Catherine of Braganza in 1661 during her marriage to Charles II. The East India Company was attracted by the safe harbor of Bombay and its strategic commercial position and therefore, leased the city for a meager amount from Charles in 1668.

The East India Company established its capital in Mumbai and attracted various dwellers from Goa, Muslim weavers, Gujarat traders and the Parsis businessmen (Zoroastrian). The city was established as a prominent industrial and commercial centre due to the export crisis in America, followed by the Civil War powered the great Bombay cotton boom. In 1869, Bombay’s access to European Markets increased due to the opening of Suez Canal and construction of massive docks. Under the Sir Bartle Frere’s governorship in between 1862–67, the construction of colonial-Gothic buildings took place.

Being the most prosperous city of India, Bombay played a major role in Independence struggle. Mahatma Gandhi used a house in the city for coordinating the freedom struggle, which is now a museum. In February 1948, the last contingent of British troops bid goodbye and passed through the Gateway of India. Mumbai flourished as India’s commercial capital after Independence. The city’s population has grown more than sixteen million, despite of the communal fights and terrorist attacks in the city.

The extreme right-wing of Maharashtrian party, the Shiv Sena has supreme power over the city. The party was founded by Bal Thackeray, in 1966. 260 people were killed in March 1993 in the ten huge retaliatory bomb blasts. It was suspected that Dawood Ibrahim along with Pakistani militants were involved in such activities which include the bomb blasts of August 2003. Around 107 tourists were killed near the Gateway of India. The city has always been targeted by the terrorist, the explosions in July 2006, blew apart seven commuter trains throughout the city.The dreadful attacks by gunmen in November 26, 2008 killed around 166 people.

Despite all the odds, Mumbai is flourishing in terms of economic development. Decades of stagnation in textile industry led to succession of growing IT, healthcare, finance and backend support sectors. About 50 percent of the city’s population resides in slums without any toilet.


The official language of the city is Marathi, which is their mother-tongue as well and is widely used by the inhabitants. Mumbai has also accepted several other languages like Konkani, Gujarati, Telugu, Kannada, Dangii, Varhadii, English and Hindi. Besides, English and Hindi are widely spoken languages in the city.

Marathi is the modified form of Maharashtri language (derived from Sanskrit). Maharashtri language was widely used by the inhabitants of ancient times. The modified version of presently used Marathi language is greatly influenced by Sanskrit, Kannada and Telugu. 80% of Mumbai’s population uses this language for everyday conversations. Being migrated in the city and living here for centuries, the Parsi community uses Gujarati as their mother tongue. Hindi and English are means of communication in the educational institutions of Mumbai.

Mumbaiya / Bambaiya Hindi

A new version of language formed due to a large number of people migrated in the city from different parts of the country. This language is known as the 'Mumbaiya/Bambaiya' form of Hindi. It is a slang local language (a combination of Marathi, Hindi and English). This language is used in several Bollywood movies. Some portion of the city’s population use this language.


The cultural aspect of Mumbai is very rich. It attracts tourists from all over the world. Let us know about the culture of this beautiful city of Indian Region. To begin with the people of Mumbai, Mumbaikars is the name given to the inhabitants of this city. The city dwellers prefer to stay within the vicinity of the railway station for daily commuting and easy access to the metropolis.


Marathi koli songs have their origin here. This music is still enjoyed in the coastal areas and is also heard in the form of pop and party remix. Bollywood, Indi-pop, Marathi, Hindi music, Indian classical music, rock and international pop music are popular in the city. Zubin Mehta is one of the famous classical musicians of Mumbai.


There are some finest buildings in Marine Drive, which are well known for the art deco style.The Southern part of Mumbai has Indo-Gothic monuments such as Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Gateway of India and BMC building.
Mumbai’s residential area has numerous housing structures called Chawl or 'chaali' (in Marathi).


Mumbai is renowned as the birthplace of Indian cinema. The city houses numerous cinemas like IMAX dome theatre, the Plaza, New Excelsior and New Empire Cinema that caters to mainstream Marathi, Bollywood and Hollywood movies in the city.
The well known film studios include Film City in Goregaon, Filmistan, R.K. Studios in Chembur, Shashadhar Mukherjee's Filmalaya and V Shantaram's Rajkamal Studio.

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